What is a recovery coach?

In honor of Recovery Month (September), we talked to some of our staff members who also serve as Recovery Coaches about their experiences. Read on to hear all about what recovery coaches do and why they do it.

What do people need to know about recovery coaches?

A Recovery Coach, also known as a Sober Coach, is a generic term that covers many different roles. Recovery Coaches can help the recovering client navigate the difficult path of early sobriety. A Recovery Coach is a kind of “Life Coach” that helps clients make smart choices and healthy decisions, with the number one priority of not picking up a drink or a drug that day. They provide a bridge between the safe and secure world of inpatient treatment to the real world where all the old temptations lie in wait, ready to challenge your recovery.

A Recovery Coach is not an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sponsor. They possess many characteristics of a good sponsor, but a Recovery Coach does much more. Recovery Coaches start by assessing the client’s needs and recommending suitable options, and that is just the beginning. It’s like having your own personal case manager.

Recovery Coaches are not therapists, nor do they work specifically to treat substance use. Instead, they work within a model similar to harm reduction and motivational therapy, assessing and encouraging positive actions toward the aim of long-term recovery. Being a Recovery Coach is a long-term commitment; I’ve been here for almost 8 years, and I’m still in contact with my first recoveries. – Alex

What do recovery coaches offer to someone new to recovery?

Recovery Coaches offer hope. We can help people see their own potential. We can help them find their own solutions. – Windia

How can recovery coaches support someone who is still using?

Recovery coaches can help educate people on harm reduction if they are still using and not make them feel like they’re a lost cause.  We continue to treat them with dignity and respect. – Windia

What do you like most about being a recovery coach?

For me, Recovery Coaching is about building connection. I love what I do because it gives people options and hope. They must do all the work, but I provide support and walk beside them.  Watching that transformation and seeing them succeed—that’s the best part. Treating people like human beings make a difference, especially if you provide support in their language and when you meet them where they’re at. – Alex

I love to see the change in people.  When someone goes from having no hope to a glimmer of hope to full on cheerleading for themselves; that is the best feeling in the world! – Windia

Where can I find recovery coach or other recovery services?

Use this link to search the Helpline for recovery support services or contact the Helpline.

FAQ about Recovery Coaches

What is Recovery Coaching (aka Peer Recovery Coaching)?

What other kinds of peer support are available for people in recovery?

What kinds of training/certifications do Recovery Coaches have?

How can I get trained to be a Recovery Coach?